Volume 34, Issue 5 (September 1989)
Development of Equipment for the Standardization of Skull Photographs in Personal Identifications by Photographic Superimposition
The technique of photographic superimposition of postmortem specimens (dried skull or head) positioned identically to the orientation in an antemortem smiling photograph is now a recognized method for personal identification of human remains. Previous methods used to produce the postmortem photographs were problematic as orientation of the specimen could not be easily adjusted and positions were not reproducible. The objective of this paper is to describe the design and method of use of purpose-constructed equipment intended to alleviate these problems.
The equipment comprises a skull-holding jig based conceptually on the Royal Berkshire Hospital halo frame. This is mounted on a pan-and-tilt device, incorporating calibrated measurement scales, enabling independent movements in each of the Cartesian coordinates. A camera is attached to an adjustable mount running on twin parallel rails allowing the camera-to-specimen distance to be varied.
The equipment has proven to be straightforward in use and offers considerable advantages over previously described methods for producing postmortem photographs.